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You’ve Just Crossed Over Into … The Grey Zone …

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Fish in lightbulb

Why is no one paying ME billions of dollars for my ideas?

I wonder if it’s because I’m caught in the twilight of The Grey Zone.

I’m a prisoner in this quagmire and I need to make myself break free.

Well before 50 Shades of Grey came along, I invented the whole genre of the “grey zone”.

I can’t see anything as black or white.

50 Shades of Grey?

Hell, I can see the universe in 1,000 shades of grey.

50-shades-grey-paint

The other day while I was pouring drinks at my bartending job, someone said to me,

“Who are you voting for in the upcoming federal election?

Depends…

… the choices?

Conservative, Liberal, New Democratic Party (NDP) or Green.

Hmmmm… depends on where my sense of priority lies on voting day, I suppose… I think, I’m pretty sure!

  • Conservative if I feel angry at the world and want to fight wars and abortion laws and gun control and market controls.
  • Liberal if I like Justin Trudeau’s hair style that day and I want a bouncy mix of free markets and social justice.
  • NDP if I feel in sync with the friendly folks patiently waiting for me to open the doors to the Penticton Soupateria kitchen who need free daycare and subsidized dental care for their cavity-laden mouths.
  • Green if I’m sick of picking another empty Tim Hortons cup off the street under the ozone-thin rays of sunshine, AND perhaps I feel a subtle loyalty to them because my last name happens to be Green.
  • Is Obama a choice? Doesn’t Barack need a job after November 2016?

OK … you might have insinuated by my choice of words above that it won’t be a CONSERVATIVE check mark!

But other than that, I just don’t know!

And I don’t want to spend a lot of time working my way through the issues. I’m one politically lazy cat.

lazy-cat5

And this political muskeg? This is just one small example of my grey zone or “sitting on the fence” outlook on life.

My “grey zone” often has me seized up by the glut of alternatives in our world… you know… the Walmart selection of choices in everything we do or purchase.

In the halcyon days of The Waltons (nope, not Sam Walton of Walmart, I’m talking John Boy Walton of Walton’s Mountain, Virginia), you would just walk into Godsey’s General Store and say,

“Ike, I need an iron, two spools of blue thread, a package of laundry soap, and a suit for Yancey Tucker’s wedding this weekend.”

Two minutes later, with no further questions, Ike would smile his boyishly toothy grin and have everything tied up in a neat bundle and off you went, a happy camper.

No VISA, no MasterCard, no Air Miles or Loyalty Club cards… just cold, hard-earned cash slapped down on the old oak counter.

Can you imagine?

Now… NOW! … you need 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months… whatever … to make all of the important decisions involved in these same purchases. Questions and more questions:

  • Self cleaning iron or auto shut-off? GE or Samsung or Toshiba? Corded or cordless? Removable steam tank? Retractable cord? Anti-burn control?
  • Sky Blue, royal blue, indigo thread? Cotton, nylon, polyester, heavy-duty, silk, wool, or metallic thread?
  • Powdered or liquid laundry soap? Detergent with bleach added? Dye and perfume free? Cold water active? Top or front-loading washer?
  • And, it would take an entire blog post to go through the choices when selecting a man’s suit for a wedding.

Choices

I just don’t know! And I don’t want to spend a lot of time working my way through the consumer consumables. I’m consumerly lazy.

I like the idea of options, but the harsh reality of endless choice is endless decision-making and the need to do extensive research on the purchase of my next Bic pen or Gillette razor blade.

I sometimes rue having to use what little brain power I do have, to investigate and research and think and weigh options.

Really, I want to use my “grey’ matter to think about the things that are important to me. Things I’ve prioritized, or have wanted to prioritize.

Really, I want my head filled with story ideas for blog posts that infinitely stretch my thoughts and imagination.

Really, let me work on the concept of Idea Sex where I can take two or more unrelated ideas and tap my J.K. Rowling magic wand to marry them into something new and beautiful.

Really, the same for my music writing and playing. I don’t want to create everyday songs that anyone lacking imagination can pen for a commercial audience. I want unique songs with meaning and substance, stories filled with relevance, and emotion… and heart…

Experts such as psychologist/author Roy Baumeister (Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength) tell us that we have a finite amount of willpower.

The willpower needed in making decisions becomes depleted as we use it, and we use the same stock of willpower for all manner of tasks.

If I spend 10 minutes making a decision over something as seemingly simple as which toilet paper to buy (3 ply or 2 ply, 12 rolls or 8, super soft or Russian sandpaper, and on and on), those 10 minutes have depleted my eagerness for making sweet music.

Regrettably, almost unlimited choices in today’s world saps my energy.

In order to change, it’s a circular conundrum of making decisions about decision-making. Yup, my very own personal 1,000 Shades of Grey.

Meanwhile, I feel like I’ve crossed over into… Nu-nu nu-nu …. THE GREY ZONE.

rod serling

50 Shades of … Shame …

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christian and ana

Tsk tsk Christian Grey!

Are you serious? You’re showing your face in public again with some sort of boastful, manly pride?

Here we are once more, back in the news with a Valentine’s Day release of the tawdry film 50 Shades of Grey.

Our book-inspired imaginations can finally relax now that we can gaze in stunning Technicolor at your little fantasy world of mental, physical, and sexual abuse. Oops … my apologies Christian, you’d prefer that we call it BDSM to dress it up pretty and sound sensuously sexy.

…………………………………….

I don’t know whether to worship at your feet or spank the living shit out of you.”

…………………………………….

And you, Anastasia Steel?

Ana, you will look gorgeously enticing and naive and innocent, occasionally displaying some subtle signs of estrogen-strength that will float the illusion that dominance by and submission to another… any other … is really quite empowering, somehow acceptable, yes, even dreamily romantic.

Oh Ana, get thee to thy shrink!

Anyway 50 Shades … Congratulations.

50-Shades-of-Grey-Movie

It will be a colossal smash box office event. It will.

Millions of women with submissive stars floating in their wide, moony eyes will drag their gal pals, maybe even boyfriends and husbands to the event of the year.

The sequels will be in filming mode before you can snap a whip on a woman’s ass and “playrooms” will fill with nouveau riche moviemakers sporting huge smiles.

And me? Well, I’ll still be scratching my head at the hypocrisy of what women want in this world; and also the men who believe that objectification and dominance over women is just fine, thank you very much.

In a way, 50 Shades transports me through time and history … the story’s insinuation that men can sit back and assume a controlling, dominant role, well, it takes me back 150 years to the plantation porch – back to the good old days of Lincoln and slavery and the quaint notion that having a master/servant relationship is tolerable in any sort of sane world.

…………………………………….

I want you sore, baby,” he murmurs, and he continues his sweet, leisurely torment, backward, forward. “Every time you move tomorrow, I want you to be reminded that I’ve been here. Only me. You are mine.”

…………………………………….

Almost 3 years ago I wrote a post expressing my disappointment in current-day liberated women who flocked in huge numbers to read the BDSM mega-hit 50 Shades of Grey.  Well … have I softened on my stance over that time you ask? Definitely… NO…

https://lwgsummerland.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/50-shades-of-green/

It clearly taps into a large female segment who tingle to an interior women’s world that is beyond my understanding.

Obviously, I can’t claim that 100 million readers are all mistaken in their admiration and might I say –  desire –  for a sexual fantasy like this.

We all have interior domains that thrive inside – worlds of bizarre and untold fantasy that we would never want the rest of society to be aware of. I’ll cop to guilt on many fronts where fantasy of various makes and models thrive. But never a fantasy that places someone in a lowly, denigrated position …

A Toronto Star article this week made this point: “ … it’s not the BDSM that has Joe-Anne Dusel, provincial co-ordinator with the Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan, worried.

“The elements of isolation and humiliation that go on outside of the bedroom are serious red flags,” Dusel said, noting that in the book, Grey tracks Steele’s cellphone, follows her to work, threatens her and isolates her from her family and friends.

“These are the tactics that the women who walk through our doors report on a daily basis they are experiencing in our own lives,” Walker said.”

We read the daily news and take in the dark, disturbing stories of Jian Ghomeshi, and Bill Cosby, and Ray Rice, and Chris Brown, and Charlie Sheen and we shake our heads saying “tsk, tsk”. And then paradoxically, we fill the local theatres to watch it acted it out as a desirable fantasy. Huh????

The book’s author E.L. James has long defended her books against accusations they promote violence.

But you know what? I don’t blame Ms. James for her book or the characterizations that are portrayed.

I don’t “blame” anyone.

It merely tells me that despite ALL of the strides that Western civilization has made in terms of gender equality and respect, there is still a huge number of those – both men AND women – who believe, or at least fantasize about a world where men can exercise total control over women.

 

… leaving me wanting, unzipping his fly, and pushing me down onto the couch so he’s lying on top of me.
“Hands on your head,” he commands through gritted teeth as he kneels up, forcing my legs wider…
“We don’t have long. This will be quick, and it’s for me, not you. Do you understand?
Don’t come, or I will spank you,” he says through clenched teeth.”

And those same women will sensuously sigh and raptly eat it up with delighted visions of denigration. Denigration at the hands of a handsome muscled hunk that treats them like a spent cigar butt on the street… enjoying a puff or two… but believing that it’s really just someone else’s trash.

It just leaves me sad…

oneshadeofgrey

50 Shades Shelters

Put On Your Kinky Boots Jian Ghomeshi

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Who are you doing this week Jian?

Watch where you put those hands Jian!

 

I’m not surprised often, but that morning I was pretty shocked.

And it wasn’t just that my left sock was black, the right navy blue.

Years ago I worked in a mid-sized medical lab at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Comox, on Vancouver Island. I went to my job one day, and returned home a little less naive at the end of my shift.

Entering the lab, I had to pass through the front waiting-room area. Chairs stood in rows where patients sat before being called into one of the smaller back rooms to have their blood taken or electrocardiogram leads laid out in a curving river across their chest.

A long narrow hallway led into the back of the lab past an open washup and sterilization area on the right, followed by the tiny pathologist’s office in the far right corner.

Each morning, I veered left at the pathologist’s office into my Microbiology department. It opened out with its warm incubators and cold fridges and counters layered high with multi-coloured petri dishes sprouting bacteria of all makes and models.

There was a familiar – almost sweet – but not totally unpleasant bacterial scent in the air. You probably know you’ve worked in a lab for a (too) long time when the putrid scents begin to develop an appeal…

Microbiology

.

But really, it was the pathology office that held a magnetic lure.

.

On many, if not most mornings, protruding from the IN-BOX screwed to the wall just outside the door there would be a long paper sheet or two loosely jutting up from the upper opening.

It was an invitation begging to be looked at.

These long sheets were dropped off by the local coroner from the previous night’s usually routine, or sometimes macabre adventures that resulted in a chilled body stretched out in the morgue downstairs.

The page was a request to the pathologist to carry out an autopsy on someone who had expired and where some explanation was needed. Tidy block writing described all of the important details of the poor wretch’s demise. The factual commentary outlined the circumstances of the death and the reason an autopsy was needed.

Most were straightforward and vanilla: suspected heart attacks, strokes, tumbles down stairs, drownings.

But one day … this day … a story unfolded in the coroner’s script that still stands out in my mind all of these years later. It was a sad little tale of sexual kink that ended tragically for one poor fellow.

morgue body

So why am I thinking about this now? I blame it on you Jian…

Well … Jian Ghomeshi, Canada’s premier radio show host, it’s thanks to you and your 50 Shades of Grey proclivities and adventures. The stories are popping up all over like a Whack-a-Mole board about your BDSM lifestyle and sexual recreations with choking and other maybe-not-so-fun stuff.

I’m no prude. What happens behind closed doors is all fun and good with me.

Most of the time.

I’m trying really hard not to judge you Jian so early on without more background detail. And it’s hard because I’ve always admired you and your considerable abilities to carry out wonderful interviews with both the famous and the common folk.

You are the epitome of cool, you have a great radio voice, a charming smile, and your questions are insightful and respectful, even if Billy Bob Thornton thought you were an asshole when really he was just looking at himself in the mirror.

Hearing the stories about Jian from increasingly numerous young women of beatings and forced chokings in a sexual context carried me back to the moments years earlier as I stood outside that pathologist office in Comox reading the coroner’s notes graphically detailing a young man’s death.

I had never heard the term before:

Autoerotic Asphyxiation

Wikipedia describes it as:

When you rob your brain of oxygen (asphyxia), you experience a high — euphoria, dizziness, and lowered inhibition — before you lose consciousness. To make their sexual experience more thrilling, autoerotic asphyxiators masturbate while strangling themselves with cords, ropes, scarves, and ties, or they suffocate by sealing their heads in plastic bags.

The vast majority don’t mean to kill themselves. They usually devise some kind of rescue mechanism to stop the asphyxiation once they’ve climaxed. But the fail-safe often fails. For example, they may tie a slip-knot or hang themselves from something that’s shorter than they are, so they can simply stand up to stop the strangulation. But they may get so weak and disoriented from lack of oxygen that they can’t pull out the knot or stand up, and they pass out and die.

The Wikipedia description almost perfectly outlines the coroner’s notes of the young man in the morgue fridge downstairs.

He was found hanging, a knotted rope circling his neck, porn magazines scattered open on the floor around him, a carrot protruding from his rectum. While standing on a small stepstool in order to get some tension around his neck, somehow the stool had slid away and out of his reach. He was found a couple of hours later – too late – by his wife when she returned from work.

North American statistics suggest this is a occurrence that repeats itself over 1,000 times each year.

My little naive mind was shaken and disturbed. It was an uncomfortable and sad feeling that stayed with me and lingered. It even still resides like a dormant virus in a tiny corner of my mind.

And so this week when I listened to the (alleged) stories arising about Jian, I felt that same sense of unsettled discomfort. It’s a lifestyle choice that is far beyond even my own internal kinky fantasy life.

50 Shades of Grey, like a good horror movie, transports many of us into a world of supposed make-believe that has some shock appeal perhaps solely because it is pretend. Fantasy and imagination can be a wonderful enriching part of our existences.

I’m just not sure I’m ready or want to disassemble my naivety and enter a place where “normal” people like Jian Ghomeshi (supposedly) roughly take their personal narcissistic enjoyment.

I’m still in recovery from one day in the Comox laboratory all those years back.

Are those your Kinky Boots Jian??

Are those your Kinky Boots Jian??

What’s It Gonna Be Girls, 50 SHADES or BITCHES? You Can’t Have it Both Ways…

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Today’s WORDS OF WISDOM:

Before sex, a man isn’t thinking clearly and a woman is thinking clearly.

After sex, it reverses. The man is thinking clearly and a woman isn’t.

 

Ana and Christian

Prepare yourself … Christian and Ana are coming to the Silver Screen …

50 Shades of Grey Moments:

Anastasis Steele: “You’re a sadist?”
Christian Grey: “I’m a Dominant.” His eyes are a scorching gray, intense.
“What does that mean?” I whisper.
“It means I want you to willingly surrender yourself to me, in all things.”
I frown at him as I try to assimilate this idea.
“Why would I do that?”
“To please me,” he whispers as he cocks his head to one side, and I see a ghost of a smile.
Please him! He wants me to please him! I think my mouth drops open. Please Christian Grey. And I realize, in that moment, that yes, that’s exactly what I want to do. I want him to be damned delighted with me. It’s a revelation.

…………

“It slips down my throat, all seawater, salt, the sharp tang of citrus, and fleshiness…ooh. I lick my lips, and he’s watching me intently, his eyes hooded.”

Put that thought away, she’s just eating oysters!

 

Why Men Love Bitches Moments:

“Relationship Principle 1:
In romance, there’s nothing more attractive to a man than a woman who has dignity and pride in who she is.” 

…………

“That’s the big picture, your happiness. And health. You should never care what a man thinks of you — until he demonstrates to you that he cares about making you happy. If he isn’t trying to make you happy, then send him back from “whence” he came because winning him over will have no benefit. At the end of the day, happiness, joy…and yes…your emotional stability…those comprise the only measuring stick you really need to have.”

Why Men Love Bitches

 

Are you feeling and smelling the slimy contradiction here?

Sometimes when I’m at work I sit in on coffee breaks and listen to my female co-workers chatter excitedly about their latest reading conquest. It’s fun to be the boy-fly-on-the-wall and catch the girly gossip.

Last year, the long white table surrounded by floor to ceiling windows and overlooking the busy Kelowna street was filled with talk of the lady, or Mommy porn prose of E.L. James. You may have heard of this little sensation – 50 Shades of Grey.

I’m not sure I’ve met a woman yet who hasn’t read at least a part of this beyond-bodice-ripping book.

It surprised me that non-street walking women were feeling quite comfortable admitting they had read the book (or the full series). After all, where was the timidity and reticence of the good girls to admit they were enjoying porn BDSM literature?

Could it be that women have come out of their sexual-inhibition closets?

women-reading-fifty-shades-of-grey

 

This year I’m cocking my ear to the sounds of discussion over another popular book called Why Men Love Bitches.

Bitches, written by Sherry Argov, is like the anti-Christ retort to the 50 Shades Bible, a liberated and strong view of how a woman should want to be treated by a man, and where to bury him if he crosses the bitch-acceptability line.

When I first saw the title to the book, I thought to myself: “Oh, come on … What man loves a bitch? What idiot wrote something stupid like that?

We all know a bitch or two – a spiteful or unpleasant woman – a witch, a shrew, a hellcat, yeah – A Bee-OTCH!

Do you remember how I tricked you by using the word SEX in last week’s blog title? Well, this author hurls out the word BITCH in order to trick us into reading her book.

It’s sneaky deception – she ain’t talking ’bout bitches like you and I know bitches.

But could she sell a book that was titled Why Men Love Strong, Confident, Independent Women?…BLAHHHHH! Boring!

And yet, this is exactly the type of women that she writes 272 pages about. The sensible, strong, sexy, charming, independent, loving woman that yes … many, if not most, men LOVE.

There are no perfumed hints in Why Men Love Bitches of the 50 Shades Ana that comes to thrive on submission to Christian’s every physical and emotional desire:

Christian lays it out to Ana:

 The ownership thing, that’s just terminology and goes back to the principle of obeying. It’s to get you into the right frame of mind, to understand where I’m coming from. And I want you to know that as soon as you cross my threshold as my submissive, I will do what I like to you. You have to accept that and willingly. That’s why you have to trust me. I will fuck you, any time, any way, I want – anywhere I want. I will discipline you, because you will screw up. I will train you to please me.

CFMs on face

Give it back to him Ana!

SUBMISSIVE or BITCH?

Strangely, I’m pretty sure the reading audience for each of these books is similar.

What the hell is going on here … this doesn’t make sense, does it?

Trying to understand the wickedly confusing female psyche, I made myself read both books – such torture for a man to read about explicit sex with beautiful women.

Obviously, I’m now an expert peeking over the other side of the fence knowing exactly what women REALLY want in their men and relationships.

And the short answer is? I have NO IDEA!

Actually, that’s not true. I do have an idea, so hear me out.

Our GREY girl Ana is subservient and plays the submissive princess in the Grey castle where he holds the economic clout and other levers of control. Eventually, like a hostage with Stockholm Syndrome, Ana comes to love Christian and his sexy wicked ways.

The BITCH girl is no one’s bitch. She pays her own way and supports her own castle. As the BITCH says: Work=Money=The ability to choose the way you want to be treated=Personal Control=Dignity. 

These are two hugely popular books with enormous numbers of (predominantly) female followers. And yet, two very different views of how men and women relate on a personal and intimately sexual level.

Contradictory? Yep. But it comes down to this:

We love fantasy as a way of spicing up our lives.

We daydream, we nightdream, we fantasize, we blush inside and conjure up erotic images that we share with absolutely no one – I mean no one – in our real-life world.

It’s a little sweet, chocolate treat we give to ourselves to make our sometimes daily drudgery of working and shopping and cooking and cleaning and vanilla sex tolerable.

50 Shades, like many movies we adore, floats those forbidden fantasies that dwell down deep upwards to the surface and scratches the nagging itch of our inner kinky beings.

But even fantasy-driven people come back to their steady, earthly selves when reading BITCHES, knowing that life – REAL LIFE – is about respect and equality.

Think of it this way:

  • 50 SHADES OF GREY is the Lusty Lord of the Rings trilogy, Star Wars of Sex, Indiana Jones of Intercourse.
  • WHY MEN LOVE BITCHES is the PBS documentary NOVA or Nature of Things or Home Improvement episode.

Sex Wars

 

Before a woman starts into 50 Shades, she’s a rational, documentarian bitch, a librarian with glasses and hair tied up prim and proper.

But find her a couple of chapters into Ana and Christian Grey’s story and the BITCH bondage of her updo transposes into the 50 Shades bondage of wrists and erotically lustful unbounded submission.

It’s a beautiful contradiction, and maybe you CAN have it both ways.

………………..

One last thought.

I can’t resist pointing out the appalling writing contained within 50 Shades. Who can write this stuff and STILL sell a billion copies??:

Ana: “And from a very tiny, underused part of my brain – probably located at the base of my medulla oblongata near where my subconscious dwells – comes the thought: He’s here to see you.”